Enjoy film festivals, crisp Fall weather, food truck bike tours and endless food and drink options when you make Portland your next Fall season getaway.
You love travelling, but don’t like peak pricing and heat exhaustion. You love film festivals and boutique hotels, but don’t like huge line ups and the impossibility of getting reservations. You love the sipping cocktails, craft beer and spirits, but don’t like stumbling drunk, moustached men and yell-talkers. We get it. Let’s make this easy.
Cut and paste this list into your itinerary, hop in your sweet ride, aim your wheels towards the City of Roses (a.k.a Portland) and enjoy a perfect Pacific Northwest Fall getaway.
Reason 1 – Enjoy book and film festivals:
Portland Book Festival
Bookend your fall getaway by attending the largest celebration of literature in the Pacific Northwest this November 10th at the Portland Book Festival (formerly “Wordstock”). It includes an extensive book fair, large-scale events, small panel presentations and on-stage conversations and readings — all held at the Portland Art Museum. Get your tickets here.
Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival
Enjoy feature films, documentaries and short films by talented independent Northwest film and video makers at the Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival. With over 400 entries, this year’s judge is acclaimed filmmaker and actor, Jonathan Marlow. The festival was founded in 1973 and attracts more than 6,000 attendees, annually. Watching films indoors is a perfect rainy day activity.
Reason 2 – Stay where the action is:
Smack dab in the middle of downtown Portland’s business district, The Duniway, is a melting pot of everything that makes Portland a world-class city. Named after Abigail Scott Duniway, a notable women’s rights activist whose efforts were instrumental in bringing Oregon women the right to vote, the hotel is a Portland paraphernalia time capsule. Upon ordering an americano at the café (steps away from the check-in counter), you will not only notice a vintage View Master, invented by Portland native, Edwin Mayer, but also, books strategically-placed throughout, in partnership with Portland’s legendary, Powell Books.
At The Duniway, you wouldn’t be at fault for spending an entire day swimming the lap pool, sipping cocktails at the bar or dining at the new restaurant of rock-star chef, Chris Cosentino’s, Jack Rabbit.
McMenamins Grand Lodge
Built on a former Masonic and Eastern Star property, McMenamins Grand Lodge has quirky paintings, photographs and old band posters at every corner. The unique furnishings in every room, combined with the exceptionally friendly staff and amenities like the Ruby Spa and outdoor rock hot tub, make it a stay to remember. The Lodge is about one hour from Portland in the Tualatin Valley, famous for its vineyards.
Reason 3 – Bright lights and bike rides:
Holiday light displays
After American Thanksgiving (November 22), more than a million lights illuminate pockets of Portland, making the holiday vibe palpable. Be sure to check out the ZooLights, a display at the Oregon Zoo, and the Christmas Ship Parade, featuring brilliantly decorated boats on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.
Pedal Bike Tours
Time to burn off some fuel with the best tour company in Portland, the Pedal Bike Food Truck Tour. Ask for Evan, who knows the city inside and out and can match your biking skills and level of hunger or thirst to the pace of the tour. This isn’t your typical circling of food trucks like hungry sharks. On this tour, you’ll visit pods of food carts that have semi-permanent natural gas hookups and proper tenting to deal with unexpected weather.
Be sure to stop at SE Hawthorne Blvd. and SE 12th Ave. at Cartopia’s cart pod and dare to choose between Korean BBQ wraps at Kim Jong Grillin’ Ssam and Chicken and Guns BBQ chicken joint. Don’t worry, you’ve got at least two more cart pods to stop at and loads of great beer options to help make the what-to-eat-next decisions easier.
Speaking of next decisions, we very much recommend that you ask your guide to stop by the famous bike ‘zine’ shop called, Book Store, on your way back to home base. Inside the shop, you’ll find quirky and hilarious magazines with titles like “Free. Ass. Mag.” and “Paleo for Unicorns.” The Pedal Bike Tour will be a trip-topper for sure.
Reason 4 – Enjoy mouth watering food and drinks without the line ups:
Head Chef Cosentino’s philosophy is to use everything the animal gives us, so get ready to eat some meats. On one side of Jack Rabbit, you’ll find warm wood table tops and high ceilings with glowing glass orb lights surrounded by a well-equipped bar. And on the other, you’ll find an oyster shucking and cured meat bar. If you don’t manage to catch the GM, Doug, for cocktail recommendations, ask for Kimberley (she knows her drinks). We recommend starting out with the Majestic Mule or City of Roses (featured in the New York Times), which pairs perfectly with the Tombo Crudo (Albacore Tuna Tartare) or the Beef Tartare. Next up, order a glass of Napa Valley riesling to go with the 3 Little Pigs, an in-house cured trio of country ham, porcini-dusted pork-corn and trotter tots.
Another must stop location to kick back and enjoy some amazing Hawaiian comfort food, is Kama’aina. Try the Spicy Ahi Poke and the ‘Aina or Warrior pack before finishing up with an order of Li-hing Mango Hi Snow, a mango infused ice that is shaved into a light refreshing dessert. And, if you’ve got room, try an order of Dragons Breath, cereal balls frozen by liquid nitrogen and then dipped in sweet sauce. When you take a bite, puffs of mist billow out of your mouth.
Ridgewalker Brewing Company
Enjoy ales, IPAs, mead, stouts and wine at Ridgewalker Brewing Company, on a nice long line of taps offering up in-house craft beers as well as hosting a run of the best craft breweries in Oregon. We recommend you go for a flight of Ridgewalker’s beer before diving into pints from other parts of Oregon. If you run into one of the owners, Jeff, ask him when the superhero dance party is and make sure to get a recommendation on which pint to drink next. He knows his beer.
Also, make sure you take some time to fully explore the Sake brewery. Sake One has a global reach with a craft brewery vibe. See how the rice is polished and the yeasty mix is brewed for consumption. Step up the tasting bar and tour the history of premium sake with your taste buds. We recommend tasting the medium-dry G Fifty Sake. It is a past-meets-present drink brewed with traditional and newer techniques used to bring a distinctly Oregon valley taste to the table. Just remember to keep the designated driver happy and purchase a few bottles on the way out for later, when you are back at the Grand Lodge.
Reason 5 – Get a jump on the holiday shopping:
On November 23rd, 24th and 25th, an array of local boutiques and indy shops participate in an event called Little Boxes. Betsy Cross and Will Cervarich, the wife-and-husband team behind local jeweler betsy & iya, came up with the Little Boxes concept to bring attention to participating shops. It works like this: earn a sweepstakes ticket for every shop you visit. There are loads of prizes, trips, dinners and more to win — just by getting out and shopping like you would normally do.